Extra ferry crossings between Orkney and the Scottish mainland have been added after the MV Pentalina remains out of service after running aground with 60 passengers on board last month.
Sailings on the Pentland Ferries vessel remain suspended until at least Monday, May 22, following the emergency last month.
Earlier this month, rival operator NorthLink Ferries added an extra service to its Sunday timetable following the grounding.
Now, state-subsidised NorthLink has announced that the MV Hamnavoe passenger service from Scrabster on the Scottish mainland to Stromness in Orkney will offer a fourth crossing on Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings to help accommodate passengers.
The extra crossings are intended to help support residents and visitors whose travel plans have been affected by the suspension of Pentland Ferries services, and will run in addition to the extra Sunday round trip announced by NorthLink last week.
The latest additional ferries will be effective immediately until Friday, June 30.
The Stromness to Scrabster sailings will run at 6.30am, 11am, 4.45pm and 9.15pm.
The Scrabster to Stromness sailings will run at 8.45am, 1.15pm, 7pm and 11.30pm.
The operator said that it will continue to monitor the demand for its services and maintain close contact with stakeholders to understand the level of support required thereafter.
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director for NorthLink Ferries, said: “We hope these additional sailings help maintain access between Orkney and the Scottish mainland, particularly as residents and visitors alike look forward to the much anticipated Orkney Folk Festival at the end of this month and the St Magnus Festival in June.
“We want to reassure the community that we are in close contact with the Scottish Government and will continue to assess how we can best support travel on this route.”
Transport minister Kevin Stewart added: “I very much welcome NorthLink increasing their sailings across the Pentland Firth to meet demand during a challenging time for Orkney’s communities and businesses.
“NorthLink have been proactively assessing capacity up to this point and they have assured me they will continue to review on-going demand for the remainder of the month and into June.”